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Fantasy Trading: The Art of Negotiations Part III

by Ryan Kaltenbach

Day 3 of breaking down Thomas Noble's article, "Improving Negotiation Skills: Rules for Master Negotiators".  He wrote it for Lawyering, we'll adapt it for Fantasy.  Click Day One and Day Two.

 "Rule 3:  Planning"

"Rule 3.1:  Develop a flexible negotiation plan"

Go in with a game plan.  All right, you need steals and saves?  You make the offer to give up Magglio Ordonez for Brandon Lyon and Matt Kemp.  He says no and the next thing you know it's a 4 for 4 trade and you're actually giving up steals and not getting back a closer.  Stay on track with your original targets while staying flexible with the specific players.  However, in your flexibility don't start believing Player A and Player B are the same because they both have 18 steals and are hitting close to .300.  Do your research, know the peripherals/underlying stats and then make your decision.

"Rule 3.2:  Plan your first move carefully"

"Initial offers define the parameters of the ‘negotiation zone'"

Don't throw out offers without having done the initial research.  You'll look ridiculous later when you realize you're giving up too much and have to cancel the offer or worse yet, beg the league to veto the trade.  BTW, if that's the case just suck it up.  Don't petition the league!  There's no better to way to lose other owners respect.

Your first offer will set the tone to the whole discussion.  If you purposefully lowball the initial offer, 90% of owners will realize it and be skeptical of you in the future.  If your offer is borderline lowball make sure you explain the deal you're proposing with a rational argument.  "The starting point you select should always de defensible."

"Rule 3.3:  Goals are more important than bottom lines"

Again, focus on the type of stats you want rather than one specific player

"Rules 3.4:  Plan to make concessions"

" . . . .I'm convinced there's a vital psychological dimension here.  Each party needs to experience the satisfaction of seeing the other side move, in order to feel that the resulting agreement has been adequately bargained."

Like we've mentioned, your first offer is most likely just that, a first offer.  Middle ground can be found if both sides make concessions between two lopsided offers.  Help the other owner see where each of you made concessions, even if you feel you've conceded less (which you should). 

Coming tomorrow morning, Rule #4:  Evaluation